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HKHS Named a 2018 National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence

According to the U.S. Department of Education website, “The National Blue Ribbon Schools program recognizes public and private elementary, middle, and high schools based on their overall academic excellence or their progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. Every year the U.S. Department of Education seeks out and celebrates great American schools, schools demonstrating that all students can achieve to high levels. The National Blue Ribbon School award affirms the hard work of students, educators, families, and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging content.”

Haddam Killingworth High School has been selected by the Federal Department of Education, as a 2018 National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence for being an “Exemplary High Performing School.” HKHS is one of only three schools in Connecticut to receive Blue Ribbon Recognition for 2018 in the Exemplary High Performing School Category and the only high school.

“I’m pleased to celebrate with you as your school is named a National Blue Ribbon School,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos in a video message to the school community.  “We recognize and honor your important work in preparing students for successful careers and meaningful lives. Congratulations on your students’ accomplishments and for your extraordinary commitment to meeting their unique needs.”

Haddam-Killingworth High School is identified as an Exemplary High Performing school based on its 2016-17 accountability index. Included in the accountability index is the four-year graduation rate for all students (95.2 percent) and the six-year graduation rate for high needs students (100 percent), both exceeding state targets. In their Blue Ribbon School application, the school administration expressed that they are most proud of their success in personalizing the student experience. They offer a wide range of “traditional” courses, a variety of online learning opportunities, an internship program where students earn credit through experiential learning within the community, and they have developed a system to support students who are interested in pursuing highly unique learning opportunities not found in a typical course of studies. HKHS has established a goal that all students graduate having completed a College and/or Career Experience. To this end, they expanded course offerings as well as added a Transition Coordinator. The 2016-17 accountability report shows that 84.8 percent of students in Grades 11 and 12 have taken at least two courses specifically designed to prepare students for college and/or career again surpassing the state target of 75 percent.

“I am extremely proud of our high school community for receiving national Blue Ribbon recognition,” said Howard Thiery, Superintendent of Schools.  “Having the high school recognized with one of the highest honors that a school can receive is a tribute to the hard work of our students and the dedication of our entire HKHS faculty, staff and leadership. Since high school is the culmination and pinnacle of a public school district, when the high school is recognized for excellence it reflects on the whole school district and community. Haddam Killingworth High School is a truly special school community that holds the highest aspirations while providing a supportive educational home for all of its students. This honor is well deserved and my sincerest congratulations go out to the entire Haddam Killingworth High School Community!”

“The Blue Ribbon has long symbolized excellence and top-rated performance,” said Principal Donna Hayward at a school assembly when she announced the recognition. “I am humbled, grateful and so excited by this award as it validates our hard work over the last several years.  As I told our school community in announcing that we are a Blue Ribbon School, they are blue-ribbon students – top notch, hard-working, creative, funny, smart young people who I am intensely proud of every day.  Our blue ribbon faculty and staff have earned this.  We have done great work together, and there is no group I would rather serve alongside in raising our young people.”

For more information about the award, please click HERE to go to the US Dept. of Education website.



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